We welcome on Joel Spark, cofounder and chief satellite architect at Spire. The “space-to-cloud” data and analytics provider flys a proprietary constellation of 100+ nanosatellites to collect and analyze data from Earth. Today’s episode is brought to you by Kepler Communications, a company bringing the internet to space.
In today’s episode, we welcome on Joel Spark, cofounder and chief satellite architect at Spire. The “space-to-cloud” data and analytics provider flys a proprietary constellation of 100+ nanosatellites to collect and analyze data from Earth. The data spans weather forecasting, maritime domain awareness, aviation, and more. Spire is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and currently has a market cap of ~$150M.
Today’s episode is brought to you by Kepler Communications, a company bringing the internet to space.
A sneak peek
The back half of our conversation focuses on Spire’s “Space Services” play, and the concept of space-as-a-service. Before that, though, we explore Joel’s journey into the industry and how he was “spacepilled,” and unpack the mind-blowing fact that Spire began as a KickStarter crowdfunding campaign.
Here’s what else you can expect in Pathfinder #0037:
- The 80/20 principle of building complex hardware systems
- The primacy of vertical integration and agile development
- Spire’s Scottish roots and nanosat factory in Glasgow, Scotland
- AIS, ADS-B, and identifying planes and ships at scale
- Why pulling analytics and insights from that data is often more important than the data itself: “Where is the ship going?” “Is the plane flying off course?”)
- Applying the tech platform analogy to Spire Space Services
- Our Max Q questions: What happens if a customer goes belly up? How big is the market, really, for hosted payloads?
…there’s a whole lot more where that came from! After tuning in Pathfinder #0037, we’re confident you’ll come away with a comprehensive understanding of technical tailwinds, operational ethos, and management philosophy that drive Spire.
• Chapters •
03:43—How Joel was spacepilled…
05:07—Spire’s origins as a Kickstarter campaign
09:19—Reliability, uptime, and the 80/20 principle of being
12:04—How many satellites does Spire currently operate in space today?
16:56—Agile development, vertical integration, operational tempo, and company culture
18:55—AIS and ADS-B definitions
21:25—Can global identification of planes and ships only be done at scale from space?
23:33—Ukraine airspace closing + visuals of airspace data
24:11—Are services like that Elon Jet tracker using Spire data?
26:56—Kepler Ad Break
27:45—Spire as a “space to cloud” analytics provider
30:25—How does Earth intelligence fit into all of this?
33:01—The business model of “space as a service”
37:10—Conceptualizing Spire as a tech platform
40:32—What are your customers doing in space?
43:48—Customers looking to launch constellations
46:11—What happens if a Space Services customer goes belly up?
47:10—Do you and the team pay attention to your stock prices every day or phase it out?
49:37—What’s the TAM of people, theoretically, of people trying to fly payloads on satellites?
52:42—Anything else before lightning round?
54:07—Rapid fire questions + close of show